L.I.F.T Your Meeting


L.I.F.T. Your Meeting

Facilitating business meetings and group sessions with difficult group dynamics can be challenging. Often we are tasked with reaching a goal or agreement from various people with different agendas within a short period of time. Getting to the objective can be a daunting task.

As leaders, it’s important to keep the meeting moving along while still respectfully addressing conflicts, issues and suggestions that may arise.  In order to do so, we as facilitators need to create the optimal group dynamics for effective learning and getting important things done. How do we accomplish this?

One technique that we teach in the Facilitators Studio is called L.I.F.T.

What is L.I.F.T?

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At your next meeting, observe your group dynamics and look to create L.I.F.T.  
Join us August 8-10th for our next Facilitators studio workshop and dive deeper into L.I.F.T. as well as learn other techniques and skills that can help you lead more effective meetings and group sessions.  Visit www.facilitatorsstudio.com/mobile to learn more and register!

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A.R.M Feedback Model

Effective feedback is the way extraordinary facilitators leverage individual and group behavior to create the optimal conditions for learning and change within in a group session.

To this end, we at the Facilitators Studio use the A.R.M. feedback model in our work with individual and groups ARM Feedback


A-CTION: What, specifically, did you hear and what did you see?

This may include words used by participants, the emotion/tone with which the words were delivered, or the non-verbal behavior expressed. “I heard you say, ‘we can’t talk about that’, “When James made his point, I saw you roll your eyes”, “You are crossing your arms”

R-ESPONSE: What was the impact on the people, process or mood in the room?

This includes what happened next after the behavior or action. Did people get more/less engaged?, Did the behavior help improve the way the group communicates or gets things done? Did the tone of the room change?

It may also include what you sense. Yes, sense. Sometimes we get a feeling that cannot and should not be ignored. A group response may include a mood change in which the tone of the interaction is affected. Extraordinary Facilitators are as good at reading moods as they are at measuring concrete behavior. With practice, these feelings and senses can be “operational-ized,” or expressed effectively  “I feel a significant drop in energy in the room” , “It now feels as though people are holding back”, “I get the sense that people are very passionate about his issue”

M-EANING: Why does it matter? 

This is a measure of the importance of behavior or words, related to what people or the organization cares about most. “You just came up with a rule innovative idea, which is highly valued here” , “Thank you for saying that! We value transparency and that his a great example of doing so.”, “That is the first time I’ve heard you speak in that way. Thanks for taking the risk. We value courage here.

We invite you join us at our next Facilitators Studio workshop where we will practice A.R.M. Feedback and discover how to apply it back to your real-world scenarios.

To learn more, visit www.factilitatorsstudio.com

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Meet our newest cast member!

jamesdavispicThe Facilitators Studio cast is growing!  Please welcome James Davis. James will be joining the cast for the March 2017 workshop!

James Davis is a certified facilitator (graduate of the Facilitator Studio), leadership coach and agent of change. He is the Founder of Evolve Consulting, LLC a people development firm – creating authentic transformation through meaningful experiences.

James partners with corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations to create experiences that evoke sustainable individual, group and organizational transformation.

James earned a BA in Social Work from Colorado State University and a MA in Organization and Leadership Development from the University of Denver. James is a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and Organization Development Network (OD Network).

Personal mission statement:

Inspiring others to be courageous and openhearted, therefore, authentically connecting with their core beliefs, natural abilities and passion in order to live a fulfilled and meaningful life.

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Facilitating Great Outcome Through Enthusiasm and Energy

A successful meeting will have the earmark of enthusiasm and positive energy among participants. But group dynamics are tricky. Getting from point A as individuals to point B as a group can be difficult unless the meeting facilitator is able to create alignment and connection.

A lifeless group is the facilitator’s nemesis. But, if individuals in the group already have conviction or passion you’re halfway there. The trick is to make sure everyone is in alignment – including you, as the facilitator. Building bridges by asking participants why they believe what they believe is a good place to start. These types of discussions often lead to a reexamination of value systems and bring people with related values together.

Secondly, positive energy and enthusiasm in the group will also come when connection between individuals is created. From the first handshake to conversations at lunch and plans made for the end of the day are all part of making those important connections. Sharing experiences and entering into another person’s world naturally connects us. Set the example; connect with individuals in every meeting you facilitate.

However, you should also be aware you are creating a hypersensitive environment by encouraging individuals to become a group. Facilitating connections among group members involves some risk, such as making participants feel vulnerable and exposed. Be mindful to respect the physical and emotional space of individuals.

Great outcome will flow from of the positive energy and enthusiasm of L.I.F.T-ed group dynamics. It’s at this point a facilitator can do their job and provide measurable outcome to the business.

Barry Shapiro is President and Founder of the award-winning facilitation company, Shapiro Consulting Group (SCG). For over 15 years he has improved the performance of leaders within Fortune 500 companies such as McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. Ask him your most difficult facilitation questions on FacebookTwitter or Google+. And if you’re courageous enough, enroll in SCG’s Facilitators Studio workshop coming up May 19-21, 2014.

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Meet Our Cast!

The countdown to show time is on!

With our upcoming dates for the next Facilitators Studio just 60 days away, we thought it would be appropriate to introduce our faculty.

 Click the videos below to learn about our faculty members and what they’ll be bringing to the stage at the

Denver Center Theatre Academy

May 21, 22 and 23.

Meet Barry Shapiro

Meet Bruce Honig

Meet Hilary Blair

Meet Izzy Gesell

Meet Rachael West

Know Someone Who Wants To Attend?

Enjoy a $250 thank you for every person you refer to us that enrolls in and attends The Facilitators Studio.  As way say in our workshops, everything is connected.  We thank you for being connected!

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Have You Heard The News?

Have you heard the news?  The Facilitators Studio has a new home for the upcoming session in May and we’re looking forward to the new opportunities this will bring to your experience in the workshop!

The Facilitators Studio has teamed up with the

Denver Center Theatre Academy

at the

Denver Center Theatre Company

  With this new partnership, comes a whole new way to experience the three-day intensive workshop… on stage!

We sat down with Tam Dalrymple Frye, Academy Director at the Denver Center Theatre Academy to catch up on all the news.

FS:  What is the Denver Center Theatre Academy?

TDF:  The Academy is the education department for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts here in Denver, Colorado.  The performing arts center is one of the largest in the nation, we have eight theatres.  Our education department, the Academy, has been offering classes to the public (children two years old all the way through the  adults) for twenty years now.

FS:  Why did you partner with The Facilitators Studio?

TDF: One, we have a lovely theatre.  It seats 188 seats.  But it also just makes sense… the presentation skills that actors learn and that they demonstrate on stage is a skill.   It’s a skill that anybody can learn.  When I heard that they’d been taking hotel rooms and turning them into theatres, it seemed obvious to just provide the theatre.  And we’re just so delighted that they’re coming.

FS:  What does the Denver Center Theatre Academy do?

TDF:  The Denver Center Theatre Academy was established in 1992 as an education department of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.   Plus, we serve another 10,000 students in the schools by sending artists out into the schools and using theatre to teach history and language arts and science.  We have a very popular one called The Anatomy of Hip Hop.

FS:  What should out-of-towners know about Denver?

TDF:  A lot of people presume that Denver is a cow-town.  It’s not a cow-town.  You can get a really good steak, but it not’s a cow-town.   We are very proud of our cultural institutions.  As a matter of fact, they always site that we sell as many tickets to the opera, symphonies and plays as we do all of our national football, baseball and hockey teams.  So I think that’s a pretty impressive statistic.

FS:  Participants will have the option to stay at Hotel Teatro, just adjacent to the workshop stage.  What is Hotel Teatro like?

TDF:  Hotel Teatro is a beautiful hotel.  I actually got to stay there on my anniversary with my husband.  The Denver Center Theatre Company, part of our branch, was the one that was asked to help decorate it with our old costumes and props and posters.  It’s very elegantly done and they have two amazing restaurants.

FS:  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today!

TDF:  I hope [your readers] do get a chance to come check out Denver this May at The Facilitators Studio!

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New Year – New Discipline

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.”

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     – Clint Eastwood

Managing Yourself

You’ve made your resolutions for the year, set your goals and are ready to embark upon your plan for 2012.   When it comes time to seize the opportunites for which you’ve planned, how will you manage yourself and measure your performance to ensure the goal is acheived?

In The Facilitators Studio, we spend three intensive days teaching a revolutionary new way to improve organizational results and culture from within group settings.   We use The Facilitator Competency Model to identify and measure 12 skills, or chops, that make up the Extraordinary Facilitator.

As you might have guessed, one of the twelve Facilitator Chops is self-discipline.  We challenge you to consider the following chop (and sub-chops), rate yourself and then take action to improve your self-discipline.

Self-Discipline Chops:

A profound and accurate picture of one’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities is necessary for effective self-management.

1.  Demonstrates Adaptability – The Extraordinary Facilitator makes course corrections with ease and accuracy based on the needs of the group.

1         2         3         4         5        Total: _____

 2.  Shows Self-Awareness – The Extraordinary Facilitator publicly acknowledges his/her personal impact on the group dynamic.

1        2         3         4         5        Total:_____

3.  Develops One’s Self –  The Extraordinary Facilitator regularly asks for feedback to improve his/her performance in the learning room.  The Extraordinary Facilitator stays abreast of current best practices in the field.

1         2         3         4         5        Total:_____

Using the rating scale where 1 is lowest and 5 is highest, you can increase your awareness and commitment to self-management and self-discipline.

Perhaps we’ll see you at an upcoming session of The Facilitators Studio where you can look this chop square in the eye and say, “Go ahead, make my day.

The above contains excerpts from the book by Barry Shapiro, “Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America.”

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What Are Your Plans?

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitment of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”

Courtesy johngushue.typepad.com.

– Gloria Steinem

The New Frontier of The New Year

Although we are in the midst of the holiday season, with parties and functions at every turn, there is the sense of a new year just around the corner.   This feeling of something new and different might be tickling your thoughts, even as you enjoy the joy of the season.

So, how do you plan for the new year?  How do you set goals and determine that which is worthy of striving for with your professional and personal time?

Gloria Steinem’s advocacy for dreaming rings loud and true when faced with the yearly ritual of goal setting or resolution declaring.   As this year comes to a close, what lies ahead looks like a new frontier waiting to be explored and understood.  It does if you have the courage to leap into your imagination and dream, anyway.

Courtesy negotiationplanner.com

We at The Facilitators Studio offer this extra brain tickler for the season and your subsequent planning for future work.

To Facilitate literally means “to make easier.”  Extraordinary Facilitators make learning easier by creating the right environment, offering helpful information, creating compelling statements and setting a model for who we want our audience to become.  Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  That is, if you want a compassionate world, be compassionate.  If you want a generous world, be generous.  We say, “Be the change you want to see in the classroom.”  If you want to see transparency, be transparent.  If you want to see courage, be courageous.  If you want to see Extraordinary Facilitation, be the Extraordinary Facilitator.

Whatever it is that you want to see in the new year, we encourage you to dream it and then “be it.”  

The above contains excerpts from the book by Barry Shapiro, “Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America.”

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Pass the Health Chops and Gravy, Please…

“Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.”

Courtesy of articles.latimes.com

 – William Faulker

More Health Chops?

As you embark upon the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with loved ones and feast upon delights of the season, The Facilitators Studio offers up a reminder to mind your Health Chops.

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As you may know, “Chops” refer to the technical skills and/or mindset possessed by an effective performer.  The Facilitators Studio links the chops of a facilitator to one of the three areas of competency.

  • Content Competence
  • Learning Competence
  • Facilitation Competence

These are the three dimensions by which a facilitator’s effectiveness can be measured.

When it comes to the Health Chops (a Learning Competence), maintaining one’s physical and mental well being is a supportive element to the facilitation of an effective program.

  • Develops Physical Stamina – The Extraordinary Facilitator maintains a consistent level of energy and is able to exert him/her self without incurring injuries or excessive fatigue.  Best used after the holiday feast to stay awake.
  • Practice Relaxation – The Extraordinary Facilitator recharges him/her self during the journey to the program destination through rest, stretching and/or meditation.  You can alway substitute this chop in place of the one above, following the holiday feasting.
  • Maintains Mental Flexibilty – The Extraordinary Facilitator rolls with last minute changes to his/her travel schedule and session demands without stressing his/her mind. Most effective at the airport, train station or in the car.
  • Ensures Preparation – The Extraordinary Facilitator  shows up rested, focused and knowledgeable for the session.  If your holiday is like an upcoming session, best to come prepared and focused for feasting.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Faculty and Cast of The Facilitators Studio!

The above contains excerpts from the book by Barry Shapiro, “Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America.”

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Are You An Insider?

“When you learn something from people, or from a culture, you accept it as a gift, and it is your lifelong commitement to perserve and build on it.”

Courtesy of Courtesy of nyphil.org

– Yo-Yo Ma

Congratulations to the graduates from the October session of The Facilitators Studio!

Courtesy of Penta Photography http://www.pentaphotography.com

Do You Have Influence?

The extent to which we can influence an organizational culture is related to the extent to which people within that culture view us a positive, trustworthy and knowledgeable force of change.  Cultures are like families in that it is very difficult to change an entrenched family culture or structure.

Courtesy of stephenloudermilk.wordpress.com

In order to create lasting change, secured by a system of accountability, you must have profound influence in the organization  in which you have been accepted, not as an external visitor and learning-room tour guide, but as an insider.  The extent to which you are accepted by an organization can be represented on a continuum:


  Attacked/Ostracized            Criticized/Questioned         Understood/Embraced

 Attacked – You are seen as dangerous to the company and, like a virus, expelled through the mouth, nose and doors of the organization.

Ostracized – You are ignored and seen as impotent or irrelevant.

Criticized – The organization openly challenges you or your ideas.

Questioned – The organization is intrigued, but skeptical of you and your methods.

 Understood – The organization respects you but doesn’t always agree with you.

Embraced – You’re valued and accepted as one of their own.

 It is important to know where you are on the (OAC) Organizational Acceptance Continuum in order to identify and move business opportunities forward to affect the long range and sustained culture change begun in your work in the learning-room.  More than your efforts, your participants become your “Evidence Ambassadors” walking passed senior sponsors in the halls of the organization, unconsciously, but passionately demonstrating new behaviors in the organizational culture as a result of experiences practiced in the learning-room.

The above is an excerpt from the book by Barry Shapiro, “Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America.”

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